“Ask a Priest: Is Acting in Sex Scenes OK?”

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Q: Is acting in sex scenes in movies sinful? As an aspiring actress, I am just wondering if I were to be married and as a married woman I act in a romantic comedy or something involving heavy kissing and sex simulation, would that be sinful? I want to live a good Catholic life and want to glorify God in all aspects. But I am wondering what the protocol is, that would allow me to make the right choices? Thank you so much for listening! – Erin

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The short answer is yes; acting in the scenes you mention would be objectively gravely sinful.

It would be inappropriate behavior for anyone — married or unmarried — and it would be scandalous to do it for public consumption.

Such recorded acts would be a source of grave temptation for those who view them, especially children and teens.

It is worth quoting a passage from the Catechism on pornography, in part because so much of what fills the media could fit the category. No. 2354 says:

“Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.”

You want to be sure to guard your dignity as a daughter of God and whatever gifts you have (including acting) in a way that gives glory to the Almighty.

Raunchy media have destroyed the innocence of countless young people and led to a cheapening of the gift of sexuality. Sometimes this is done under the guise of comedy. But there is nothing funny about misusing the God-given gift of sexuality.

If you want to act, it would be good to dedicate yourself to roles that inspire people toward leading better lives.

You might find Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Artists a worthwhile read. Count on my prayers.


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